In April 2019, Japan undertook a new immigration policy to alleviate problems caused by the country's rapidly graying and shrinking population, including labor shortages, rural depopulation and increasing pressure on social services.
A new visa status,"Tokutei ginou", which means specified skills in Japanese, while the residence status named "Specified Skilled Worker" in English, was introduced. Japanese government plans to bring about 345,000 non-Japanese blue-collar workers under the new visa status over the next five years. Moreover, qualified workers can stay longer, bring their families to Japan, and in some cases turn into permanent citizens.Notoriously with strict immigration rules, Japan has made a major policy shift.
There are Specified Skilled Worker No. 1 and No. 2 under the new visa status, with the main difference in period of stay and accepting industries.
Specified Skilled Worker No.1 is applicable to foreigners who work in jobs that require considerable knowledge of or experience in the above 14 industries. It has a maximum stay up to 5 years in total and can be renewed annually, every 6 months or every 4 months. No.1 holders are not permitted to bring their families to Japan and they are eligible to support by accepting organization or registered support organizations.
Specified Skilled Worker No.2 targets foreigners with proficient skills in only 2 industries: Construction Industry and Shipbuilding and Ship Machinery Industry. It has no limitation in renewal counts and can be renewed every three years, one year, or six months, which means that it can lead to a permanent stay in Japan.No.2 holders are permitted to bring their spouse, children to Japan.They are not eligible to support by accepting organization or registered support organizations.
Aimed to allow industries that are experiencing extreme labor shortages to recruit foreign human resources,14 specified industry fields can accept the new Specified Skilled Worker.The designated industries and jobs to engage in and competent ministry of them are as follows.
Interior building cleaning
Casting, Metal press, Finishing, Welding, Forging, Factory sheet metal work, Machine inspection, Diecasting, Electroplating, Painting, Machine maintenance, Machining, Aluminium anodizing.
Casting, Painting, Finishing,Electrical equipment assembling, Welding, Forging, Iron work, Machine inspection, Printed writing board manufacturing, Industrial packaging, Die casting, Factory sheet metal work, Machine maintenance, Plastic molding, Machining, Plating, Electronic equipment assembling, Metal press
Machining, Finishing, Printed writing board manufacturing, Industrial packaging, Metal press,Machine maintenance, Plastic molding,Factory sheet metal work, Electronic equipment assembling, Painting, Plating, Electrical equipment assembling, Welding
Formwork construction, Earthwork, Interior finishing/material, mounting, Plastering, Roofing, Concrete pumping,Telecommunications, Tunnel and Propulsion, Reinforcement construction, Construction machinery and construction, Reinforcing bar joints
Welding, Finishing, Painting, Machining, Iron work, Electrical equipment assembling
Automobile everyday inspection and maintenance, Regular inspection and maintenance, Disassembly
Airport ground handling, Aircraft maintenance
Providing accommodation services such as working at the front desk, planning/public relations, hospitality, restaurant services
General crop farming, General livestock farming
Fishery, Aquaculture industry
General food and beverage manufacturing
General restaurant industry
Though opposite to its initial purpose,Japanese companies have been using Technical Intern Training visa to hire low-skilled workers until now.Compared with the new Specified Skilled Worker, there are several differences between them.
Specified Skilled Worker is aimed at solving the shortage of Japanese labor force, while Technical Intern Training is for the purpose of "international contribution", and aimed at having foreigners acquire Japanese excellent technologies and making use of them in their home countries.
Specified Skilled Worker can be accepted by only 14 industries, while Technical Intern Training has no such limitations.
Specified Skilled Worker has no limitation on the nationality of foreigners in principle, while Technical Intern Training is limited to 15 countries including India, Indonesia, China, Vietnam, etc.
Specified Skilled Worker is only between foreign workers and the accepting organization without brokers or other parties, while Technical Intern Training has a very complex system with five parties: The foreign worker, the sending organization (the company that works after returning home country), a business cooperative(to make a work contract with the sending organization), the foreign technical internship organization ( to approve the technical internship plan), the accepting organization. In fact, almost all the interns have to pay a large amount of guarantee deposit to the sending organization, while Specified Skilled Worker has no need to pay any fee to any organization.
Technical Intern Training is not allowed to change jobs, while Specified Skilled Worker is able to change workplaces in the same job category, and also possible to change to a different job category in the same field or to a different industrial field if the skill level is recognized as similar to the current level through exams. For example, the 3 industries under the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry: Machine Parts and Tooling, Industrial Machinery, Electric, Electronics and Information, are thought to have some common skills like Welding. So a foreigner who has passed "Manufacturing Field Specific Skill No.1 Evaluation Test (Welding)" is able to work in all these 3 industries as a Welding worker.
To apply for the new visa, the above potential applicants should: